Voice in English studies

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Voice in English studies

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Title: Voice in English studies
Author: Hamilton, Doreen Dashel
Abstract: This study brings together two topics--voice and English Studies. It demonstrates significant differences between the ways Rhetoric and Composition, Literature Studies, and Creative Writing define, understand, and use the term voice to denote features of writing. It argues that a study of these differences offers insight into the dynamics of both voice and English Studies. Traditional methods, such as comparative analyses and close readings, are combined with an original method that reads databases as hermeneutical/rhetorical sites.Chapter One shows that while many practitioners proceed as if the meaning of voice were settled, the uses and presumed definitions of voice vary widely throughout documents listed in major disciplinary databases: this is consistent with the deeply conusable dynamics of voice.Chapter Two traces voice through Greek, Roman, early Medieval, Enlightenment and Twentieth Century rhetoric, studies its presence in Composition textbooks and academic literature, critiques the voice-evangelism controversy, and assesses recent efforts to define voice. It also constructs a database portrait of voice in Rhetoric and Composition, considers the significance of database administrative policies, and argues that databases contain information about voice not available from other sources. Overall, voice in Rhetoric and Composition is shown to protect an exceptionally carnivalistic ethos consistent with Rhetoric and Composition's recent history.Chapter Three shows that voice denotes for Creative Writing certain stable meanings of practical consequence. Database portraits of Creative Writing at one major research university reveal a robust enterprise rivaling expository writing in allocated resources. Chapter Four examines voice in Literature Studies, concluding that in this branch of English Studies, voice is typically used idiosyncratically to suit practitioners' needs. Database analyses show that voice exerts a presence in the MLA database comparable to metaphor's.Chapter Five argues, following Walter Ong's work, that voice in writing may reflect an effort to humanize "voiceless" print. It recommends a new category of metaphorical, deliberately unbound technical terminology, for which voice would be the first candidate. It also recommends further studies of how English Studies writes itself in web sites, course catalogues, and through voice's companion terms--"sight," "point-of-view," "write," and "writing."
Description: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Washington, 1997
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1773/9404

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